The idle caveman

A democracy is a living thing and its beating heart is a well informed , educated citizenry.If the decision making process of a nation is not motivated by these things, it stands to reason that their choices will be bad ones and the nation will die.For many people who have neither the time nor the inclination to read, television is their only source of information about the world.There may have once been a time when this was OK, when there was a sense that journalistic integrity and faithfulness actually mattered.These times are long gone, replaced by an era of shamelessness that is in a very powerful sense destroying this nation. A wash of colors and high-tech graphics have replaced the steady, respectable and for these reasons good anchors of years past.But perhaps the greatest quality of any truly good newscast is that it’s boring. Let me say that again: a good newscast is boring. It seems counterintuitive, after all, we hate boredom. Of course we hate boredom, we do so for very good reasons. At its best it is mildly irritating and at its worst, it is a torturous, soul-crushing thing.But our hatred of boredom pushes the human race forward. I like to think of it in the same way I do a zombie attack: it’s not that hard to escape, but stand still and you’ll be eaten alive.When we have nothing to occupy ourselves, boredom forces us to do… things. Without it, we would be content spending our days doing nothing more than staring off into space.But when bored we fidget, futz and fiddle with the world about us, And out of that idle activity is birthed creativity. Think of the caveman who has nothing to do but bang on a stump with his fists and suddenly finds he has created music. Sometimes we don’t create physical things from the get go, but instead turn towards contemplation.But this contemplation, though idle and useless at first, often leads to creation. The caveman wonders what might happen when fire is combined with meat, and invents cooking.But the dazzling colors and spectacle of cable news force that boredom out of our minds and as a result we need not look within for stimulation. In fact, we need not think at all.So we don’t think when the politician tells us one thing and does another. We don’t think when he promises us things beyond his ability. We don’t think when he offers us the most baffling explanations for the things he does.And we find ourselves here, today, with a re-elected George W. Bush running the country into the ground and a congress that has lived up to none of its promise.If we either can’t or don’t think, how can we – We the people – expect to run a country?